RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2010 Report

By Admin

RFID Journal held its sixth annual European conference and exhibition in November, in Darmstadt, Germany. View the speaker presentations from the event.

Businesses across Europe are employing radio frequency identification to improve their manufacturing, supply chain and retail operations. RFID Journal LIVE! Europe 2010, held on Nov. 2-4, in Darmstadt, Germany, showcased real-world end-user applications in those industries, and educated attendees regarding how they can use RFID to reduce costs and improve sales.

More than 175 professionals attended this year's conference and exhibition, which explored new applications for RFID, the benefits they deliver and how to overcome implementation challenges. The event offered three industry-specific conference tracks (Manufacturing/Operations, Retail and Supply Chain/Logistics) showing how to leverage RFID to deliver business benefits, as well as the RFID Journal University preconference, and an RTLS for Manufacturing workshop. In addition, RFID vendors displayed their latest technology products and offered live technology demonstrations on the exhibition floor.

Recordings from some of the presentations are now posted in RFID Journal's online video library, and PDFs of the slides used are also available. Not all speakers have granted permission to have their presentations archived, but as more presentations become available, they will be added below. Due to the large size of some files, it may take a minute or two to download each PDF. Speakers own the copyrights to these presentations, and no materials should be used without their permission.

Opening Keynote

Airbus Reveals the Benefits of an Enterprise Approach to RFID

Airbus, the 2008 RFID Journal Award winner for best implementation (see Profits in Motion), has been pioneering best practices in the adoption of RFID by deploying the technology as "business radar" across all aspects of its business, including supply chain logistics, transportation, manufacturing and aircraft in-flight operations. This approach, which leverages a passive and active RFID reader infrastructure for multiple applications operating on a common software platform, has yielded significant benefits. The head of the company's RFID program explained some ways in which Airbus leverages its RFID "business radar," as well as some of the benefits the technology helps to deliver.

Speaker: Paul-Antoine Calandreau, flyable RFID project leader,

Airbus Resource Planning—OCR, Airbus

View the Video | Download the PDF

General Sessions

The State of RFID Adoption Globally

As the editor of RFID Journal, Mark Roberti has had a unique view of the RFID industry's global development. In this presentation, Roberti brought attendees up to date regarding the state of adoption worldwide, shared insights into which industries are adopting RFID most quickly and explained which factors are currently driving adoption.

Speaker: Mark Roberti, founder and editor, RFID Journal

View the Video | Download the PDF

Achieving Real Business Value From RFID—Why You Should Act Now

Game-changing technologies enable early adopters to gain competitive advantage and drive shareholder value. Leading companies in many industries are already gaining that advantage from RFID, and in this session, a panel of experts focused on how other businesses can do the same.

Moderator: Mark Roberti, founder and editor, RFID Journal

Panelists: Stephen Logue, VP of sales, EMEA, Zebra Technologies;

William Mapp, president, BA Systems

View the Video

RFID in the Lufthansa Technik Group—UHF Technology for Logistic and Maintenance Processes

Lufthansa Technik, a provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for civilian aircraft, has implemented an RFID solution for tracking aircraft components through its maintenance processes (see Lufthansa Technik Uses RFID to Expedite Aircraft Repair). In this session, attendees learned about the company's initiative to use ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) technology permanently on parts.

Speaker: Tom Burian, RFID application manager, Lufthansa Technik

View the Video | Download the PDF

Adopting EPC RFID Technology for the European Pallet Association (EPAL)

In 2007, the European Pallet Association (EPAL), the association behind the Euro pallet, launched a major EPC RFID pilot (see EPAL Moves Ahead With RFID Pallet-Tagging Pilot). The project's primary objective is to identify each pallet individually, improve the control of production and repair, offer clear authentication and provide better asset management. EPAL also expects to reduce administration costs by automating the licensing fee, reduce the amount of counterfeit pallets, improve the identification of black markets and increase customer satisfaction. This session explained how the project will change the logistics world and boost the adoption of RFID in Europe, as well as the importance of GS1's RTI pallet-tagging guidelines.

Speaker: Harry Jacobi, CEO, European Pallet Association

View the Video | Download the PDF

Reaching Out to a New Audience With NFC

Centre Pompidou, an art museum in Paris, France, is using a mobile phone system known as Smart Muse to attract young visitors to its new Teen Gallery (see Centre Pompidou Hopes NFC Will Draw Teens to Art). As part of a French national project supported by the Ministère de l'Economie, de l'Industrie et de l'Emploi, and the Direction Générale de la Compétitivité, de l'industrie et des Services, the objective is to put Near Field Communication (NFC) technology into consumers' hands. Centre Pompidou is employing RFID-enabled mobile phones to reach young visitors through the medium to which they are accustomed—social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace. In this session, attendees learned how each phone the museum provides is equipped with an NFC RFID module and an antenna, and how passive 13.56 MHz RFID tags compliant with NFC standards are attached to posters and exhibits in the museum's Teen Gallery. When a user moves his or her phone close to a tag, the handset reads that tag's unique ID number. Using software residing on the phone, as well as on the server, the phone can then access the server to download content related to that particular poster or exhibit, and display it on the handset's screen.

Speaker: Mauricio Estrada Muñoz, project manager for youth programs, Centre Pompidou

View the Video | Download the PDF

Preconference: RFID Journal University

RFID Journal University is designed to provide those new to radio frequency identification with the foundational knowledge needed to begin understanding how RFID can be applied to solve specific business problems, to choose the right option for a specific application and to select the proper vendors to achieve a successful outcome.

Speakers: Pankaj Sood, founder, McMaster University's RFID Applications Lab, and researcher, University of Cambridge;

Mark Roberti, founder and editor, RFID Journal

RFID Basics

Roberti offered a basic introduction to the fundamentals of RFID for those new to the technology. The differences between the various classes of tags were explained, including active and passive systems, and the need for additional IT systems to build upon RFID in real-world applications was highlighted. The session also included a brief overview of the EPCglobal network, the future of ISO standards, ETSI reader regulations and the latest standardization efforts worldwide. Finally, Roberti presented the relationship between different standards in the area of EPC RFID, including the latest EPC Gen 2 standard.

View the Video

The Physics Behind RFID

This session provided a fundamental understanding of RFID hardware, and covered the different frequency bands used: low-frequency (LF), high-frequency (HF) and ultrahigh-frequency (UHF). In addition, Sood explored the nature of RF fields and radio propagation, including the complex areas of null spots, reflections, polarization and other issues. By explaining many buzzwords common within the RFID community, he provided delegates with the terminology needed to understand the technology, and to work with systems integrators and other RFID vendors.

View the Video

Legislation and Standardization

Legislation regarding the use of RFID varies around the world, and is subject to almost constant ongoing review. Standards will ensure compliance with legislation, and also guarantee interoperability between RFID systems manufactured by different technology providers. This session offered an update on the latest developments by legislative and standardization bodies worldwide.

View the Video

Real-World Considerations

Sood discussed some of the important practical issues that must be considered when embarking on an RFID deployment, ranging from the cost of tags and interrogators to practical approaches to ensuring high operational reliability. Example application areas were presented, in order to highlight how to apply these insights in the real world.

View the Video

Building an RFID Business Case

Developing an RFID strategy and business case is the first step toward understanding how the technology can develop high performance results. In this session, Sood presented various scenarios for RFID strategy and business-case development, and also provided an in-depth look at components and output, including data gathering and analysis, developing a hypothesis, examining current technical architecture, executing cost-benefit calculations, evaluating opportunities, finding the value and constructing an implementation plan.

View the Video

Building On RFID With the EPCglobal Network

RFID is only one part of a solution. By itself, it provides the means by which the presence of objects can be automatically detected and information about those objects can be relayed. Equally important are such issues as the nature of the information to be relayed, how that data is conveyed within an organization and beyond, and how additional information is associated. In this session, Roberti provided a brief introduction to the EPCglobal network standards that complement RFID, allowing a complete solution to be built.

View the Video

Workshop: RTLS for Manufacturing

Ubisense, a provider of real-time locating systems, offers process control and business optimization for such manufacturing organizations as Airbus, Aston Martin and BMW. This series of workshop sessions showcased a number of installations of Ubisense's RTLS offerings.

Using RTLS and Innovative Technologies

This presentation addressed real-time location systems and other technologies, and the speaker shared how the combination of ultra-wideband (UWB) and camera technologies can provide new levels of security and transparency in industrial processes.

Speaker: Dariush Behboudi, CTO, Eximia srl

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Case Study: Caterpillar Belgium

Caterpillar Belgium is using De Jaeger Automation's Protrac solution to provide traceability of all tightening done on its products and subassemblies (see Direction Générale de la Compétitivité, de l'industrie et des Services). At certain assembly stations, it is necessary to verify the locations of tools, in order to ensure that the quality data collected is associated with the correct subassembly. In this session, attendees learned why De Jaeger has incorporated Ubisense's RTLS into its standard solution as an option, and how Caterpillar can activate this functionality whenever and wherever needed.

Speaker: Patrick De Jaeger, CEO, De Jaeger Automation

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The Benefits of Using Indoor Tracking Logistics for Manufacturing

This session provided an overview of indoor-tracking logistics in a demanding manufacturing environment. The audience learned how to integrate a precise RTLS with conventional technologies, such as Wi-Fi and RFID, in order to provide real-time transparency and decision support in the product-finishing and logistics areas.

Speaker: Przemyslaw Parus, Dipl.-Ing, research assistant, Fraunhofer ALI Cottbus

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Business Monitoring and Optimization Solutions for Manufacturing

Ubisense's Visible Industrial Process (VIP) business-monitoring and optimization solution provides insight into offline assembly processes across one or multiple sites in the aerospace, automotive and general manufacturing industries. This presentation covered the advantages of using the company's RTLS, and how production objects may be tracked as they enter and exit different steps along the process. Moreover, the presenter explained how this data is compared with planned process sequence and cycle times, to provide alerts for objects out of sequence, or with dwell times that are too high, as well as reporting to support business-optimization decisions.

Speaker: Nicolai Karl, senior technical sales consultant, Ubisense

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Optimizing Process in High-Value Manufacturing

Aston Martin demonstrated how it employs radio frequency identification technologies to optimize processes and solve unique problems within its high-value manufacturing process (see Aston Martin Speeds Cars Through Production).

Speaker: Alastair Booker, project engineer, Aston Martin Lagonda

This presentation is unavailable at this time.

BMW Case Study

This session explained how Ubisense's RTLS has been fully integrated into the assembly-control process at BMW's assembly plant in Regensburg, Germany, as well as into its X3 assembly plant in Spartanburg, S.C., in the United States. Furthermore, attendees heard about the benefits that have been realized from the deployments in both regions.

Speakers: Russ Chandler, CEO for the Americas, Ubisense;

Terry Phebey, VP of sales, Ubisense

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Manufacturers across numerous industries are using RFID to achieve benefits, both in their supply chains and in their factory operations. This can be achieved cost-effectively by tracking reusable containers, work-in-process and finished inventory. This track was designed to showcase how manufacturers across Europe are utilizing RFID to improve operations and reduce costs.

Automating Asset Management, Orders With RFID

Three years after deploying passive 125 kHz RFID tags to track tool usage, Byrne Group, a U.K. concrete substructure construction firm, has expanded its use of the system to identify users of its 16,000 assets—including tools, excavators, trailers and other heavy equipment, as well as consumables, such as gloves and boots—across its numerous construction projects (see Byrne Group Automates Asset Management, Orders). The company is also utilizing the technology to manage the online ordering of those assets. In this session, the firm told attendees how it employs 125 kHz RFID to expedite shipments of equipment and supplies to its workers, as well as to track usage, and how it expects to recoup its investment by 2011.

Speaker: Matthew Preston, group IT director, Byrne Group

View the Video | Download the PDF

Pack and Sea Uses RFID to Automate Crate Tracking

Pack and Sea, a Danish company that leases crates to the fishing industry, is employing radio frequency identification to track the locations of its plastic crates (see North Sea Company Uses RFID to Catch Fish Crates). The containers hold fish as they are caught at sea, and later as they are sold at market. The company had relied mainly on a manual method for tracking its containers, using pen and paper to record the number of crates a fisherman, auction house or buyer has at any given time, along with when they need to be returned. The firm turned to RFID to streamline the tracking of crates and invoicing of customers. The company, in this session, told attendees how the system delivers a real-time overview of the number of fish crates in various parts of the logistics chain, in addition to documenting the actual location and status of individual crates—whether onboard a vessel, at an auction house or at a manufacturer.

Speakers: Simon Johansen, division manager, Pack and Sea;

Bent Kirk, managing director, Pack and Sea

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Looking Ahead—Exploring RFID and Related Emerging Technologies for Construction

As construction and facility-management companies deploy RFID solutions, new issues beyond the selection of readers and tags begin to emerge. This session explored some of these issues, including infrastructure setup (communication options to consider in an open environment), alternative mobile devices as readers (digital pens and tablets, interactive hands-free or head-mounted mobile devices, and cell-phone readers), and unique issues involving rugged and metal-friendly tags (including ATEX certification and data standards).

Speaker: Francis Rabuck, director, Intelligent Infrastructure Lab, Bentley Systems

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Sketching the User Experience—Rapidly Deploying RFID for Maximum Success at Bombardier

Bombardier, a manufacturer of planes and trains, is working with transit authorities to design and develop a solution that will enhance safety in the transportation industry (see RFID News Roundup: Bombardier to Deploy TagMaster 2.45 GHz RFID System on Asian Trains). Understanding an end user's needs and designing an engaging experience was identified as a key objective to making sure the project results in a successful deployment. This session discussed the approach that was followed to create the user experience, as well as the impact it has had on the evolution of the proposed solution.

Speaker: Pankaj Sood, founder, McMaster University's

RFID Applications Lab, and researcher, University of Cambridge

This presentation is unavailable at this time.

Choosing an RFID Solution for Tagging PCBs

Schneider Electric, a global energy-management firm headquartered in France, is currently using a data-matrix identification solution, as well as a mix of HF tags and bar codes, for logistics within its manufacturing environment. The next step will be to replace the current HF system with one utilizing UHF RFID technology. In this session, attendees learned how the company evaluated different technology solutions for use in the tagging of printed circuit boards (PCBs), as well as the types of RFID solutions chosen.

Speaker: Michel Ollive, manager, advanced manufacturing

design and technologies, Schneider Electric

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Minimizing Picking Errors With RFID

Order-picking is one of the most important processes in internal logistics, and can impact the customer-supplier relationship regarding quality and timely deliveries. This session outlined how a preset scenario in which an automated high rack supports pick-by-light picking spots, as well as the possible application of identification and measurement systems for monitoring a pick process in order to minimize errors, has been implemented at one facility. The presenter discussed how identification and measurement technologies, such as RFID, scanning and weighting, have been combined with suitable sensors, in order to facilitate an evaluation in a lab-based scenario.

Speaker: Dieter Uckelmann, manager, RFID Application and

Demonstration Center, BIBA-IPS, Log Dynamics Lab

View the Video | Download the PDF


A growing number of retailers across Europe are embracing RFID as a way to improve supply chain efficiencies, ensure products are on the correct shelf when customers want to buy them, and enhance the shopping experience. This track showcased early adopters sharing success stories and insights into how RFID is delivering such benefits.

Deploying RFID in the Fashion Supply Chain

The RFID Fashion Pilot, the first Italian supply chain pilot aimed at assessing RFID's impact in the fashion industry, was launched in June 2009 by the University of Parma's RFID Lab (see RFID Boosts Store Turnover by Nearly 10 Percent in Italian Pilot). Participants include Branded Apparel, Dolce & Gabbana, DHL, TNT, Imax, Miroglio and Trussardi. In advance of the spring-summer 2010 season, approximately 30,000 garments were tagged at a distribution center and followed to a store, enabling real-time visibility of logistics flows. This session revealed the pilot results, and explored how RFID benefits logistics and store processes.

Speaker: Antonio Rizzi, Ph.D., full professor, industrial logistics and

supply chain management, University of Parma

This presentation is unavailable at this time.

How Retailers Benefit from Using RFID to Improve Inventory Accuracy

For the past several years, the University of Arkansas' RFID Research Center has been studying the impact various retailers have achieved by employing RFID to improve inventory accuracy and replenishment. The center has now aggregated this information, and plans to provide baseline data revealing the benefits the typical apparel retailer can expect to achieve with RFID. Attendees learned how the technology can be applied to improving inventory accuracy and reducing the out-of-stock problem that has long plagued retailers.

Speaker: Justin Patton, director, RFID Lab, University of Arkansas

This presentation is unavailable at this time.

Using RFID to Reduce Theft

Gerry Weber International, a German manufacturer of women's fashions, is applying EPC Gen 2 RFID tags to the 25 million garments it produces annually (see Gerry Weber Sews In RFID's Benefits). The company also plans to roll out RFID technology at 150 of its company-owned retail stores in Germany and abroad. As the firm explained in this session, the application is designed to improve the efficiency of its incoming goods and inventory processes, and to function as an electronic article surveillance (EAS) system.

Speaker: Christian von Grone, CIO, Gerry Weber International

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RFID and Wireless Systems for Intelligent Airports

Airports and other large infrastructures have diverse communications needs that include complex and often varying service requirements, traffic profiles and user expectations. The Intelligent Airport (TINA) project was created to address these present and future needs (see U.K. Researchers Study Distributed Antenna System for Airports). This three-year research project is being carried out by the University of Cambridge, UCL and the University of Leeds. The project aims to develop a system using a wired and wireless network that will meet the needs of a future airport environment. In this session, attendees learned how RFID can manage a wide range of fixed and mobile equipment.

Speaker: Sithamparanathan Sabesan, researcher, Centre for

Advanced Photonics and Electronics, Cambridge University

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Adding Value Through RFID at s.Oliver

German apparel retailer s.Oliver Bernd Freier GmbH & Co. KG explored RFID's effects in the retail environment by performing a proof-of-concept project in selected stores. The initiative's main focus was to determine the technology's benefits in a store environment. This presentation's speakers explained the system s.Oliver implemented, shared the lessons it learned, discussed the project's results and showed a video detailing the implementation.

Speakers: Florian Oechsner, head of commercial international retail,

s.Oliver Bernd Freier GmbH & Co. KG;

Uwe Quiede, senior consultant, Tailorit GmbH

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The Business Case for RFID in Retail Apparel

RFID Journal has conducted extensive research to understand the business case for RFID in apparel retail, and to create metrics that companies in that sector can use to determine the likely return on investment they could achieve by employing the technology to manage store inventory (see RFID Fashion Retail ROI Calculator). In this session, Mark Roberti explained the data used, and also walked attendees through the financial model. Those in attendance received an interactive spreadsheet they can utilize to explore the benefits they can expect to receive, based on their particular store size, number of units, margin, labor costs and other inputs.

Speaker: Mark Roberti, founder and editor, RFID Journal

View the Video

Supply Chain/Logistics

Supply chain operations and logistics companies will play a key role in ensuring end-to-end visibility of products as they move through the global supply chain. Some third-party logistics providers are already tagging products for their customers, while others are examining how they can benefit internally by improving the utilization of containers and chassis with RFID tracking. This track focused on how companies in Europe and around the world can improve supply chain operations by employing RFID technologies, as well as how logistics providers can deliver value to customers by sharing RFID data.

Auto Importer Uses RFID to Reduce Labor Costs and Expedite Vehicle Movement

Colmobil, Israel's largest automobile importer, is employing an RFID system to decrease labor costs and expedite the processing of those vehicles as they are brought into the country at two ports (see Israeli Auto Importer Puts RFID Into Operation). The company imports 35,000 to 45,000 cars every year, and sells them at 45 dealerships throughout the nation. The cars are brought into the Ports of Eilat and Ashdod, where they are stored until they can be removed from the port's storage parking lot and shipped to Colmobil's pre-delivery inspection (PDI) facility. At the storage parking lot, each automobile is identified by its vehicle identification number (VIN), printed in text and bar-code form on a sheet of paper glued to the car's rear-left passenger window. The firm permanently fits each new vehicle with a 3/4-inch by 4-inch EPC Gen 2 passive UHF RFID tag as it is being unloaded from the ship. This session discussed how the staff uses a handheld computer coupled with an RFID interrogator and a bar-code scanner to locate and confirm that they have the correct car before picking it up, and attendees learned how the technology is being utilized to accurately determine final detailing, safety inspections and registration.

Speaker: Gil Katz, CIO, Colmobil

View the Video | Download the PDF

Driving Down Costs With RFID

Radio frequency identification can play a key role in helping companies manage the inventory of equipment arriving on a construction site, as well as reduce the incidence of theft and improve the tracking of assets. This session revealed how Magnor Plant (part of the Morgan Est Group) utilizes RFID to help provide modern lifting equipment, safety devices, vehicles and accommodation units to all Morgan Est construction sites (see Inspections Made More Efficient for British Construction Firm). Those in attendance heard about how tagged assets are being instantly scanned using handheld computers, thereby enabling the firm to manage inspection and delivery schedules for each asset, and how these systems are helping Magnor to effectively manage its inventory and logistics systems.

Speaker: Neill Pawsey, programme manager, Construction Opportunities in Mobile IT (COMIT)

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Stepping Up Efficiencies—Improving Logistics in the Fashion Industry With RFID

LTC-Logistics (Logistics & Traffic Centre srl), a third-party logistics firm based in Perugia, Italy, specializes in serving the clothing, footwear, luxury goods and accessories industries. This session explained how the company is employing RFID technology in a three-phase project to reduce its total processing time, improve accuracy and streamline various phases of work. During the first phase of the project, the firm filled individual cartons with representative fashion articles that it regularly handles, and loaded them onto pallets with various types and formats of tags in order to verify reading-performance capabilities. After simulating passages at various speeds through the tunnel and gate at the facility for its client's product, LTC-Logistics modified the tag's position within the article to obtain the best read performance. The presenter of this session outlined how the company is experiencing increased efficiencies in its current receiving and departure processes, as well as labor savings.

Speaker: Meredith Lamborn, International Accounts, LTC-Logistics

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Managing Returnable Transit Items (RTIs) Using RFID

Packaging Logistics Services (PLS), a British provider of plastic pallets and reusable containers, as well as a manager of pallets and containers used by other companies, is employing RFID to track its own assets—while also helping customers to set up RFID tracking for their reusable pallets and containers (see PLS Uses RFID to Track Pallets, Containers). PLS has tagged its own products, in addition to installing RFID interrogators at its four European depots (three in the United Kingdom, and one in Germany), and at 16 third-party warehouses that the firm utilizes to ship its pallets and containers throughout Europe. In this session, the company discussed its future plans, which include putting readers in customers' warehouses and enabling them to share information with PLS regarding container movements.

Speaker: Jon Graves, general manager, Packaging Logistics Services

This presentation is unavailable at this time.

Using RFID Technology in a Seaport Terminal

Cargo that is too heavy and bulky to be placed in a container, and that does not move on its own wheels, is typically loaded onto roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) vessels by means of heavy-duty trailers. These trailers, in turn, are handled by a piece of towing equipment known as a "tugmaster." Storage positions of full and empty trailers are manually recorded, resulting in less than optimal control, and necessitating significant efforts to localize trailers when the need arises. This session presented a solution being used by a German port operator and its scientific partner (see BLG Logistics Hopes to Save Labor and Fuel by Tagging Rolltrailers). The technology achieves automatic identification and localization by combining passive RFID tags and GPS.

Speakers: Wolf Lampe, director, innovative seaport technologies, BLG Logistics Group;

Anne Schweizer, research scientist, Bremen Institute for Production (BIBA)

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Using RFID to Improve Tracking Efficiency and Customer Service

Finally, Staff Jeans, a Greek clothing company currently employing RFID to track apparel at the item level at its factories and DC, is expanding its use of the technology to include value-added services at the point of sale, at the firm's flagship store, located in Athens (see Staff Jeans to Introduce RFID-enabled Customer Services). The company is adding an intelligent-shopping function that works with RFID-enabled in-store video screens, as well as an RFID-based checkout system and an RFID product-authentication solution for returns. The retailer initially implemented RFID in late 2008 for warehouse management, automating its DC's receiving, picking and shipping processes, then expanded the application in early 2010, and now tags all items it produces. The audience learned how the company has spent the last six months fine-tuning and optimizing the use of mobile readers for its picking and packing processes, as well as optimizing the system for processing the higher volume of tagged goods, and how it is now expanding its use of the technology to offer garment information and shopping suggestions at its Athens location.

Speaker: Nikos Zarokostas, software engineer, SENSAP AE

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RFID Journal's next event will be RFID in Defense 2010, being held on Nov. 30, in Arlington, Va., followed by RFID Journal LIVE! 2011, scheduled for Apr. 12-14, in Orlando, Fla. Visit RFID Journal's events page for information regarding other upcoming conferences, as well as virtual events and webinars.